The Midnight Sun Film Festival was founded in 1986 by Finnish filmmakers, e.g. the Kaurismäki brothers, and the Municipality of Sodankylä. The village of Sodankylä is located in the heart of Finnish Lapland, some 120 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, where the sun doesn’t set at all in the summertime. The nature of Lapland and the nightless night provide the Midnight Sun Film Festival a setting no other festival can compete!

The atmosphere of the Midnight Sun Film Festival is one of the most unique in the whole world: the most fascinating film directors around the world, up-and-coming talents, the international audience and the inhabitants of Sodankylä meet under the midnight sun in the relaxed and informal “spirit of Sodankylä”. Without any formal restraints, the festival is best characterised by its pure love for cinema.

Films are shown in four venues for 24 hours a day, and the actual time is easily forgotten as the sun shines as brightly at 4 AM as it does at 4 PM.

The festival programme is an enticing combination of old and new. Timeless masterpieces of veteran filmmakers will be presented side by side with the most engrossing contemporary films. In the master class screenings leading film critics will provide their insight to cinema’s finest classics, and music films are given a new spin in the karaoke screenings. To top it all, the undisputed highlights of the festival are the glorious silent film concerts.

The programme also includes new Finnish productions, films for children and premiere screenings; altogether about 100 feature films presented in over 120 screenings. To crown the cinematic celebration, every since its origin festival has hold morning discussions with the main guests. Who wouldn’t be interested in hearing which films the legendary directors would take with them to a desert island.

Thanks to our guests throughout the years, the spirit of Sodankylä is well known around the world. Just to mention a few, the following persons have visited the Midnight Sun Film Festival:

1986: Samuel Fuller, Jonathan Demme, Bertrand Tavernier, Jean-Pierre Gorin
1987: Michael Powell, Jacques Demy, Jim Jarmusch, D. A. Pennebaker, Juliet Berto, Thelma Schoonmaker
1988: Monte Hellman, Paul Schrader, Dušan Makavejev, Aleksei German, Krzysztof Zanussi, Ali Özgentürk, Helle Ryslinge
1989: Paul Morrissey, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Otar Ioseliani, John Berry, Vadim Abrašitov, Idrissa Ouedraogo
1990: Richard Fleischer, Manoel de Oliveira, Ettore Scola, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Octavio Bezerra
1991: Andre De Toth, Laslo Benedek, Alberto Lattuada, Jean-Charles Tacchella, Agnès Varda, Chantal Akerman, Enzo Serafini, Etienne Chatiliez
1992: Roger Corman, Claude Chabrol, Jan Troell
1993: Joseph H. Lewis, Dino Risi, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Julio Medem
1994: Robert Wise, Mario Monicelli, Luis García Berlanga, Stanley Donen, John Sayles
1995: Robert Parrish, Agnieszka Holland, Maud Linder, Richard Price, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, Victor Erice
1996: Jean Dreville, Claude Sautet, Daniele Dubroux, Robert Boyle, Doris Dörrie
1997: Gianni Amelio, Vincent Sherman, Jerzy Skolimowski, István Szabó, Costas Ferris
1998: Youssef Chahine, Terry Gilliam, Robby Müller, Stefan Jarl, Wim Wenders, Leonard Kastle
1999: Edgardo Cozarinsky, Costa-Gavras, Francesco Rosi, Angela Winkler, Murali Nair
2000: Bob Rafelson, Paolo Taviani, Ivan Passer, Shinji Aoyama
2001: Freddie Francis, Sergio Sollima, Jerry Schatzberg, Agnès Jaoui, Nana Djordjadze, Filippos Tsitos
2002: Francis Ford Coppola, Miklós Jancsó, Fernando E. Solanas, Denys Arcand, Luce Vigo
2003: Irvin Kershner, Emir Kusturica, Jean Rouch, Pascal Thomas
2004: Val Guest, Nanni Moretti, Marlen Hutsijev, Wolfgang Becker, Jörn Donner
2005: Roy Ward Baker, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Juan Pablo Rebella & Pablo Stolla
2006: Gian Vittorio Baldi, Caroll Ballard, Andrei Smirnov, Jafar Panahi, Isabelle Stever, Mercedes Álvarez, Jasmine Trinca
2007: Abbas Kiarostami, Claude Goretta, Vittorio De Seta, Giuseppe Bertolucci, Amos Gitai, Elia Suleiman, Pascale Ferran, Detlev Buck
2008: Milos Forman, Andrei Konchalovsky, Seymour Cassel, Lasse Pöysti
2009: John Boorman, Robert Guédiguian, Fatih Akin, Samira Makhmalbaf
2010: Pedro Costa, Terence Davies, David Robinson
2011: Michael Chapman, Souleymane Cissé, Atom Egoyan, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
2012: Harriet Andersson, Joe Dante, Alan Rudolph, Béla Tarr, Ruben Östlund
2013: Philip Kaufman, Marco Bellocchio, Claire Denis, Christian Mungiu
Olivier Assayas, Pawel Pawlikowski, Alain Bergala, Alice Rohrwacher
2015: Mike Leigh, Nils Malmros, Christian Petzold, Miguel Gomes, Malgorzata Szumowska, Auberi Edler
2016: Jirí Menzel, Bill Forsyth, Fernando Trueba, Dagur Kari, Gianfranco Rosi, Jonas Trueba